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Hard Rock Cafe to open six outlets in three years

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KOLKATA: With its outlets in India turning profitable, US-based casual dining chain Hard Rock Cafe is planning to expand its presence in India.

The brand will open one cafe each in Chennai and Chandigarh by the end of this year, said Sanjay Mahtani, co-founder and Executive Director, JSM Corporation, the master franchisee for Hard Rock Cafe in India and Nigeria.

In all, six more outlets of the brand are expected over the next two years at an expected investment of 30-70 crore.

At present, there are eight Hard Rock Cafes in India — two in Mumbai, and one each in Bengaluru, Delhi, Gurugram, Hyderabad, Pune and Kolkata. This apart, JSM runs one cafe at Nigeria.

“We are keen to expand in India, especially considering the positive response the brand has garnered here,” Mahtani told BusinessLine.

Expansion plans

The casual dining chain is looking to explore a variety of models to expand its presence. While JSM Corp will set up some outlets by itself, it will also explore the joint-venture model.

Kolkata, for example, is one city where JSM has successfully explored the JV route. It has entered into a JV with the Bajoria Group to set up a cafe here. It is exploring a similar model for the upcoming Chandigarh cafe, too.

“Our Kolkata property does quite well in terms of revenue,” Mahtani said.

For expansion, Hard Rock Cafe will now look at cities that fall within the “tourist circuit,” and this could include a place like Goa. “The tourist profile in India is changing, and we will accordingly take a call on the cities where we can have new restaurants.”

One thing will, however, remain constant, he said. There will be only one Hard Rock Cafe in a city. Multiple outlets in a city dilutes the brand proposition, Mahtani added. Mumbai, so far, has been the only exception to this rule.

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